We often have a view of the IRS that portrays this government agency as all-powerful, to which we are obliged to do as we are told under penalty of a fate worse than death. While it is true the IRS wields a great deal of power, we do have rights, even when we are on the wrong side of Uncle Sam.
You have the right to a taxpayer advocate. This is an IRS official that has the power to stop the IRS from taking certain actions against you. For example, you can avoid having your property seized if you can show it would cause a significant hardship, such as leaving you homeless.
If you are required to meet with the IRS, you have the right to send a qualified representative, such as a lawyer, a CPA or an agent instead. You can stop an audit or a meeting with the IRS in order to meet with a professional – much like the right to an attorney before being questioned by the police. Unlike the right to an attorney, however, the IRS is NOT obligated to provide you with representation. You cannot be forced to meet with the IRS at an inconvenient time or place. This stipulation is in place to avoid you having to close your business for an audit.
You have the right to request to pay your outstanding taxes in installments. The IRS is not obligated to accept your request, but they must give it fair consideration.
One of the first important tax payer rights to be aware of is the right to appeal. You can request an appeal of levies, liens or seizure because incorrect procedures were followed or there is a less drastic course of action that can be taken. Appeals are made to the IRS Appeals Office, which is separate from the collections department.
You have the right to confidentiality. The IRS cannot share your tax and financial information, other than with agencies responsible for the administration of your taxes in other states.
These are some of the rights you have as a tax payer. The IRS is obligated to send you a copy of the full Taxpayer Bill of Rights if you are being audited or otherwise required to meet with an agent.